Monday, September 26, 2011

Way to Inspire

This time last year I was gearing up to go to We Day, still reveling in the euphoric aftermath of our Kenya trip. It was the experience that kept on giving, and left an indelible impression. Tomorrow I will watch the inspirational testimonials, and musical tributes that amount to a celebration of evangelical proportion via an Internet stream. Nothing like thousands of school-aged pumped up, wired, shameless idealists (that's what they call themselves) committing to being agents of change, to restore hope and kick my butt into action. The youth of today are fearless; they understand that they are part of a global village with responsibilities to their larger human family. They inspire me to ask myself what my role is in creating a better world; they show me that every  effort, no matter how small, creates a ripple of much needed change.

Our youth have much to teach us. We just have to pay attention.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Colour Me Autumn

Colour is creeping up stems and trunks filling leaves with blazing glory -- one last stand before they wither and drop. Fall officially arrived last Friday, but the signs have been evident for the past few weeks. The trees are not yet half turned but it will happen quickly now. There will only be a few more weeks to enjoy the foliage. It's a transition season; the glorious burst of colour somehow making it easier to let go of our beloved summer, easing us into what we know is to come -- bitter cold and snow.

Every fall I remember why I love this time of year. The air takes on a smokey, woodsy smell as the cool nights get fireplaces ablazing; the Macintosh apples ripen hard and sour (the official taste of autumn); and the dried leaves crunch underfoot as we walk in the forest. Doesn't get more Canadian than that!

I am trying to enjoy the season, as fleeting as it. I picked up coloured gourds to make a centrepiece for the table. I bought some acorn squash to bake;  some leeks to make potato leek soup; and a bag of Macs for apple crisp. So glad I learned to like my vegetables.

Despite weather forecasts predicting rain and misery, the weekend was stellar -- more blue skies, and warm but crisp fresh air.  I spent some time with my newly engaged daughter, saw the youngest momentarily as she   stopped off to sleep at home one right en route to other festivities and spoke to the other one on the phone. We are all looking forward to Thanksgiving; we will be lighter in number this year but the turkey dinner goes on as scheduled. 

Good feelings and thoughts swirled around me all weekend ... and I even got a free turkey in the grocery store promo. Prosperity and abundance abounds here and I can only be filled with gratitude. For at this very moment, in countless corners of the world, and even in my own country, people are hungry and suffering, clinging to hope. These will be my thoughts and remembrances as I am moved to act; to share.

There will be more pics to share as autumn presents in all her glory - but for now, I am sharing the first signs of what is to come ...
Our maple leaf -- and now you know why it's on our flag!


Monday, September 19, 2011

Something to Celebrate

I did it! I managed to keep a secret for a few minutes until my daughter and her fiancee could deliver their news in person to all of their parents. My daughter is getting married. She will be the first of our next generation to do so just as I was in my family.

When you hold your baby in your arms you get momentary flash forwards -- first steps; graduations; boyfriends; marriage; and more. It's hard for me to fathom that we have arrived at one of those flash forwards. Her voice on the other end of the phone was so solemn and quiet I starting wondering if she was going to tell me that I was going to be a grandmother. That news if it ever comes will have to wait.

Right now we have a wedding to plan and considering that the family alone (9 parents and 9 grandparents to start with) comes close to 80, we're going to need alot of party hats.

My baby is getting married and I only have a few months to impart my volume of marriage advice ... starting with to always kiss one another good night! Muah!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Blazing Gazes

Sunset. Moonlight. Starbright. Reflections on a glassy lake.

That is what awaited us this weekend after our drive up to the cottage. We pulled in and as we unpacked our car, we were overwhelmed by the black velvet sky scattered with what looked like millions of diamonds. Then we heard our first owls calling out.They were hidden in the dark but they were on our property. Hubby was in his glory. The lake had its own goodnight reserved for us. We stood on our deck taking in the beauty of the absolute stillness and the spectacular glowing moon that sat lower in the horizon lighting up the lake with its golden reflection. I tried to capture it with my camera but the image ended up a pale, somewhat blurred imitation.

We had debated if we should make the trek north to the cottage this weekend and I am so happy we went. It did not disappoint. The weather was filed under perfect - cool but brilliant sunshine with blue skies and dead calm waters. The trees were speckled orange and red already and alot of the birches were well underway to bare.  We walked with our incorrigible little schnauzer, breathing in the fresh autumn air and marveling at our good fortune for these stolen moments spent immersed in nature. It sounds cliche, but it really does revitalize the soul and you can feel anything that ails you ease out to make way for calm and serenity. 

This weekend delivered some exciting feathered sightings ... a golden eagle in flight; a blue heron that I disturbed in the marsh; a pair of loons that followed hubby and I as we paddled around the lake; and the usual chickadees and ducks. The hummingbirds are gone but I managed to get a shot of one a few weeks ago, which made my day. 

So now that I listed all of the positives, I will interrupt this programming to express one complaint --- it was cold as heck in the cottage. The first night it was only 6 degrees C inside. We cranked up the space heaters, I wore fleece and socks underneath the down comforter and by morning when I awoke I couldn't see my breath thankfully. Hubby made a fire and soon the cottage was warmed to a toasty 16 degrees. Once we discovered that it was actually warmer in the sunshine on the deck, we fled the coop and ate our lunch out there.

Now, back to our regular scheduled post ... it was a wonderful weekend all around and I hope that wherever you may be, that yours was good as well. Now here are a few images I snapped of the early days of a Canadian autumn.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Remembering. I did alot of that yesterday, and I know I wasn't the only one. Imagery of 9|11 flooded the airways and did what it intended -- it brought me back a decade, to a precise moment in time, to remind me exactly what I was doing, and where I was when IT happened.

The ceremonies and emotional snares reeled me in. It seems that we like to remember. I certainly do my share; most of my sentences start with the preamble, "remember when ...". That can be annoying to someone who suffers from memory impairment, which is me most of the time. There is a certain comfort in remembering and reliving "old times", even the painful ones. We find refuge in ritual and solace in monuments, even if they happen to be scraps of paper with shaky handwritten sentiments.

This desire, this need to memorialize monumental moments and events in our lives is a way of retaining or even creating something tangible out of that which is no longer so; it provides touchstones and resuscitates; it breathes life into thought, and permits a visitation with the past - however fleeting.

When the mood strikes me, usually when I set out to clear the clutter, or clean out my room, I rummage in my bookcase and old shoe boxes and sort through the random old photos and the collection of cards and letters I have saved. I pull out my mother's spiral-bound journals and read the notes that appear in her beautiful handwritten script: affirmations, wish lists, shopping lists, thoughts, reminders and health tips. I hear her voice reciting as I read her words.  I feel serene in that which she left behind.
Remembering ... embers of precious and pain that remind us what it means to live and to have lived.  Lyn

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Leo's Love Quiz

Today was just about as perfect a fall day as there could be. The sky was clear and deep blue and the air was warm, fresh, and devoid of humidity. Hubby and I stole a few hours and walked Fritz by the spectacular waterfront in our town.

To celebrate this glorious day I am sharing something written by a wonderfully inspiring person - Leo Buscaglia-  one of my favourites and though he passed away in 1998, he left the world forever changed. I hope you enjoy this little quiz and that it gives you food for thought.

Leo's Love Quiz

A few end-of-the-day questions for each of us...
Is anyone a little happier because I came along today?
Did I leave any concrete evidence of my kindness, any sign of my love?
Did I try to think of someone I know in a more positive light?
Did I help someone to feel joy, to laugh, or at least, to smile?
Have I attempted to remove a little of the rust that is corroding my relationships?
Have I gone through the day without fretting over what I don't have and celebrating the things I do have?
Have I forgiven others for being less than perfect?
Have I forgiven myself?
Have I learned something new about life, living or love?
If you are not satisfied with your answers, take heart. Tomorrow you get to start all over again! If you will it, this is one quiz you can never fail.
 Sending each of you love and wishes for a wonderful weekend.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labour Day Change Up

In a few hours another Labour Day weekend will have come and gone. And oh, how so very different they are now from those of yesteryear.

They used to be a bustling few days of school shopping with the girls, doing copious loads of laundry and back to school organization and preparations. Usually the Jerry Lewis Telethon was the soundtrack on the eve before the first day of school. Kids would be bathed, new outfits carefully laid out for morning, lunchboxes packed ....

This weekend was a little different. The first part was spent at the cottage with hubby overlooking the sketchy weather to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We came home last night to avoid the traffic and wake up in our bed to enjoy a full day of downtime.

The house is oddly quiet. She just left and headed back to university. Yup we are officially empty nesters.  Kidlet is starting her second year and spent the week in ready mode - slowly stock piling her stuff in the dining room, in the spare bedroom, in the hallway, the laundry room ... get the picture?  She was out and about for most of the day, tying up loose ends, saying her goodbyes and finally dropped around after dinner to pack the truck and head off. She isn't going far - just under an hour away - but when she planted a parting kiss on my cheek and called a cheery "bye Mom" as she closed the door behind her, it snuck up on me. That melancholy little empty feeling that reminds me that the time is drawing that much closer when she'll pack up for the last time for permanent leave. The days are numbered.

So as the chilly autumn air moves in to remind us that summer has moved on as well,  the house is emptier and quieter, and the copious mounds of laundry are folded and put away, another Labour Day weekend has come to a close. Tomorrow we turn a new page to a fresh start. I suppose a part of us never loses the "back to school" feeling and all the changes that go along with it.

And part of me - just a little part of me - wishes I was sending three little girls off to school in the morning.